Did you leave the cap off your marker again? Did the ink dry out? Keep your markers out of the trash by following these quick and easy steps.



No parts required.

  1. Obtain the items necessary.
    • Obtain the items necessary.

      • 2 Tablespoons Of Vinegar

      • 3 Cups Of Warm Water

      • The Dried Out Water Based Marker

        • Make sure the marker is water based. If not, check the packaging if available. Steps 1-6 will not work on permanent markers. However, step 7 can be used for dried out permanent markers.

      • A Small Bowl

      • A Paper Towel

  2. Fill the bowl with 3 cups of warm water.
    • Fill the bowl with 3 cups of warm water.

      • You can use cold water - warm water allows for quicker solution.

      • Make sure the water is not boiling! It will ruin your marker!

    • Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar into the bowl with water.

    • Mix in the vinegar.

    • Place the marker tip down into the bowl.

    • Make sure the cap is off the marker. Set the cap aside for later use.

      • The marker can slip into the bowl. It just results in a longer drying time.

    • Allow the marker to sit for approximately 5 minutes in the water.

    • Remove the marker from the bowl and place onto the paper towel.

      • Do not remove the marker until some ink is released into water.

    • Wrap the marker in the paper towel and allow it to sit.

    • Wait approximately two minutes.

    • Be sure to place the cap back on the marker.

    • Make sure you lay the marker on its side.

    • Allow the marker to sit for up to 15 minutes before you start writing with it.

    • Pick up the marker and start writing.

    • Watch as the once dried out marker starts to work again.

    • If the marker does not work after steps 1-5, try placing the tip end in the vinegar alone and let sit in the vinegar for 2 minutes.

    • Do not be alarmed if some ink leaks into the vinegar, that is normal.

    • Allow the marker to dry for at least 15 minutes before you start using it.


Repeat as necessary for all water based markers.

12 other people completed this guide.

Kyle Ringler

Member since: 04/09/2015

466 Reputation

1 Guide authored


Cal Poly, Team 28-4, Green Spring 2015 Member of Cal Poly, Team 28-4, Green Spring 2015


6 Members

5 Guides authored


I had been throwing my dried up highlighters for years...thanks so much for sharing this info

Josephine Benjamin - Reply

Works very, very well! Thank you, Kyle…

Melissa Herrera - Reply

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